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Landrum Wins Battle At The Border Tournament

Over the last 3 days, Landrum High School’s “The Cage” has played host to the 24th annual installment of the Battle at the Border Tournament. The popular post-Christmas basketball Tournament field featured Blue Ridge, Woodruff, St. Joe’s, Chapman, Broome, Shannon Forest, Spartanburg Christian Academy, and the host Cardinals in a total of 12 games. 


The tournament opened on Thursday afternoon with Woodruff taking down Blue Ridge 57-52. Saint Joseph’s Catholic School beat Chapman 41-36 in the 2nd game while Broome absolutely dominated last year’s tournament champion First Presbyterian Academy at Shannon Forest 75-39. In the nightcap, Landrum locked up their spot in the “gold bracket” with a 76-33 drubbing of SCA. 


With the gold and silver bracket set, day 2 started with Blue Ridge facing the Chapman Panthers with the Tigers moving on with a 65-59 victory, while Shannon Forest bounced back with a 60-35 win over SCA. On the gold bracket side, Woodruff knocked off St Joe’s 48-42 and Landrum trounced a Broome team that was down 3 key players 68-46. 


On the final day, Chapman bounced back by defeating SCA 61-22 while Blue Ridge took home the silver bracket championship via a 61-44 decision over Shannon Forest. In the third place game, Saint Joe’s knocked off Broome 53-31. That set the stage for the championship game on Saturday night – the homesteading Landrum Cardinals vs the Woodruff Wolverines. 


The title game got off to a shocking start. Landrum is notorious for getting off to fast starts and using that to put pressure on and wear down their opposition. They did not get that this time. Instead, it was the Wolverines that got off to a hot start while some of Landrum’s best shooters, especially Franklin Davis, struggled. By the end of the opening 8 minutes, Woodruff held the upper hand 17-10. 


Landrum started to right the ship in the 2nd quarter, out scoring the Wolverines 14-9 in the frame to cut the deficit to just 2 points heading into the break. 


After muddling through 2 minutes in the 3rd quarter, the Cardinals exploded over the next 6 minutes to the tune of a 23-2 run. Franklin Davis sparked the run by finally hitting on his first 3 pointer of the night at the 5:50 mark of the period to give Landrum a 29-28 lead. After an empty possession by the Wolverines, Aj Lindsey, who played despite an ankle injury, added the first of his 10 points in the rally on a floating jumper for 2. 


“Aj was unbelievable. He tweaked his ankle last night and it was swollen really bad. We didn’t think he was gonna be able to play. But he taped it up and gave it a shot and you couldn’t even tell it was rolled. He is our guy up top. He is our ‘Energizer Bunny’ – everywhere, forcing turnovers and getting layups. What a heck of a game for that young man”, said Landrum Head Coach Lyn Smith.


Franklin Davis added 2 more while Bennet Edwards tallied 6 and Noah Hamlin had 2 in the 3rd quarter burst that was more than enough cushion for Landrum to claim the championship, as Woodruff could pull no closer than 9 points over the final frame. In the end, Landrum took the 66-57 win. 


“In the first quarter we got off to a bad start. We forced some shots and they came out and surprised us a bit with a matchup zone when we were expecting more man-to-man. It did just enough to where they made some shots early and we got down early. We made a run towards the end of the half and cut it to 2. At the half we talked about how we didn’t play great and didn’t really execute, but there were a lot of things we could fix and we were only down 2 points. We came out and played a really good 2nd half. We got up pretty big, but then in the final 4 minutes, we didn’t manage the clock very well and they climbed back in, but fortunately we made some free throws down the stretch and got a win”, said Smith. 


Coach Smith closed with this when asked what it meant to win this tournament again. 


“It feels good to win this. I think this is our 5th overall, which is the most all-time. We’ve won 4 since I came along. We talked about it in the locker room. We just want to keep setting records and playing hard. We feel like we have a good basketball team. We just need to learn to play a full 4 quarters.”

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